Dmytro Tymchuk, the coordinator of the Ukrainian-based Information Resistance OSINT community, has said the Russian Orthodox Church, who he brands the ROC-FSB, hinting at its long-standing ties with the Russian security service, went for an offensive on the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople after severing communion with the Mother Church.
Attacking an enemy on its own territory is in the Kremlin's traditions, Tymchuk wrote on Facebook.
An ROC priest, Georgy Sergeev, arrived in Istanbul and delivered his first sermon in the temple of St. Constantine and Helen (located in the territory of the Russian Consulate General in Istanbul).
The cleric's arrival was explained by the ROC with "numerous requests of Orthodox believers living in Turkey," Tymchuk notes, drawing parallels with the Kremlin's claims of 2014 that Russian speakers in Crimea had been seeking Russia's interference against "Ukrainian nationalists."
"However, merely 20 people attended the service, Tymchuk noted.
Conducting sermons in Istanbul previously required Russian Orthodox Church getting a permission from the Patriarchate of Constantinople or sending their priest under the jurisdiction of Constantinople.
"Now the opinion of the Patriarchate of Constantinople was defiantly ignored," the expert wrote.
"It means the ROC-FSB is infiltrating Constantinople (Istanbul) with 'little men in cassocks' who have taken up the role of the Russian 'little green men' [soldiers without insignia who flooded the Ukrainian Crimea as Russia made its first active moves to illegally annex the peninsula]. Church is now another front of the Russian hybrid war. Welcome to the phantasmagoric world of the peculiar 'Russian Orthodoxy'," Tymchuk added.